Section 1: Lock Box Security Requirements
Eligibility for coverage under NAR’s blanket errors and omissions insurance program is contingent on compliance with the following security measures whether the system is operated by the association, its MLS, or on behalf of an association by a recognized lock box vendor:
Any key, programmer, or other device (hereinafter referred to as key) by which a lock box can be opened shall be nonduplicative. By nonduplicative it is not meant that the key is necessarily covered by a current patent but that it cannot be readily copied in the manner that other types of keys ordinarily are.
Keys must be obtained from the original manufacturer, from a recognized vendor of lock box systems or from any other legitimate source. Prior to utilizing previously used keys, lids, or boxes, information shall be obtained from the original manufacturer to determine whether the key’s pattern, code, or configuration is already in use by other associations, multiple listing services, or other users in the vicinity. Surrounding associations and multiple listing services shall also be contacted to determine whether the key’s pattern, code, or configuration is currently in use.
Any lock box system shall be designated as either an activity of an association of REALTORS® or an association-owned and operated MLS.
If the lock box system is an activity of an association of REALTORS®, then every REALTOR® and REALTOR-ASSOCIATE® and every non-principal broker, sales licensee and licensed or certified appraiser affiliated with a REALTOR®, shall be eligible to hold a key subject to their execution of a lease agreement with the association. (Amended 11/96)
If the lock box system is an activity of an association-owned and operated multiple listing service, then every MLS participant and every non-principal broker, sales licensee and licensed or certified appraiser who is affiliated with an MLS participant and who is legally eligible for MLS access shall be eligible to hold a key subject to their execution of a lease agreement with the MLS.
Associations and multiple listing services may require, as a matter of local determination, that key lease agreements executed by non-principal brokers, sales licensees, and licensed or certified appraisers will be cosigned by the designated REALTOR® or the office’s broker of record. Lease agreements shall spell out the responsibilities of the parties and shall incorporate by reference any applicable rules or regulations or other governing provisions of the association or MLS that relate to the operation of the lock box system. The lease agreement shall also provide that keys may not be used under any circumstances by anyone other than the keyholder except as provided elsewhere in this statement of policy. (Amended 2/98)
Associations and multiple listing services may, at their discretion, authorize unlicensed personal assistants, administrative and clerical staff, and individuals seeking licensure as real estate appraisers, who are under the direct supervision of a designated REALTOR®, or MLS participant, or their licensed designee, to hold a lock box key on the same terms and conditions as non-principal brokers and sales licensees. (Adopted 11/93)
Associations and multiple listing services may refuse to sell or lease lock box keys, may terminate existing key lease agreements, and may refuse to activate or reactivate any key held by an individual convicted of a felony or misdemeanor if the crime, in the determination of the association or MLS, relates to the real estate business or puts clients, customers, or other real estate professionals at risk.
Associations or multiple listing services may suspend the right of lock box keyholders to use lock box keys following their arrest and prior to their conviction for any felony or misdemeanor which, in the determination of the association or MLS, relates to the real estate business or which puts clients, customers, or other real estate professionals at risk. Factors that can be considered in making such determinations include, but are not limited to:
- the nature and seriousness of the crime
- the relationship of the crime to the pruposes for limiting lock box access
- the extent to which access (or continued access) might afford opportunities to engage in similar criminal activity
- the extent and nature of past criminal activity
- time since criminal activity was engaged in
- evidence of rehabilitation while incarcerated or following release and
- evidence of present fitness (Adopted 11/99)
Administration of a lock box system as an activity of an association of REALTORS® may, at the discretion of the association, be delegated to its multiple listing service.
No one shall be required to lease a key from the association except on a voluntary basis.
Associations and multiple listing services may, at their discretion, lease keys to affiliate members of associations who are actively engaged in a recognized field of real estate practice or in related fields. In such instances, the lease agreement shall be signed by the keyholder and by a principal, partner, or corporate officer of the keyholder’s firm. (Amended 11/97)
Key lease agreements may contain a liquidated damages provision to offset some or all of the costs in reestablishing the security of the system if it is determined that the security has been compromised through the negligence or fault of the keyholder. (Amended 11/97)
Associations shall maintain current records as to all keys issued and in inventory. There shall be an audit, at least annually, of all keys, whether issued or in inventory. This requirement may be satisfied by a physical inventory or, alternatively, by receipt of a statement signed by the keyholder and the designated REALTOR®, broker of record, or, in the case of an affiliate member, by a principal, partner, or corporate officer of the keyholder’s firm, attesting that the key is currently in possession of the keyholder. This audit requirement does not apply to electronic lock box programmers or keypads which are sold or leased provided such devices may be deactivated within thirty (30) days. (Amended 5/99).
Associations shall require a substantial deposit from each keyholder in an amount that will establish an awareness of personal liability for such key. The initial deposit shall not be less than $25 nor more than $300. Deposits for a first replacement key lost or stolen shall be not less than two (2) times nor more than three (3) times the amount of the initial deposit and not less than three (3) times nor more than four (4) times the amount of the initial deposit for second or additional replacement keys. Deposits for keys shall be kept in a special account for refund upon return of the key unless forfeited upon loss of the key. Notwithstanding the foregoing, deposits charged affiliate members may be no more than twice the amounts established above.
If, at the time of inventory, a key is unaccounted for, or if a keyholder refuses or is unable to demonstrate that the key is within their physical control, then the key will be considered unaccounted for and any funds on deposit will be forfeited to the association.
Deposits for electronic programmers or electronic keycards which are leased but which can be deactivated within thirty (30) days may be required as a matter of local determination. (Adopted 11/95)
Lock boxes may not be placed on a property without written authority from the seller. This authority may be established in the listing contract or in a separate document created specifically for the purpose. Inclusion in MLS compilations cannot be required as a condition of placing lock boxes on listed property. (Amended 11/05)
Associations shall charge keyholders and their cosignatories with the joint obligation of immediately reporting lost, stolen, or otherwise unaccountable for keys to the association. Upon receipt of notice, the association shall take any steps deemed necessary to resecure the system.
Associations shall adopt written, reasonable, and appropriate rules and procedures for administration of lock box systems which may include appropriate fines, not to exceed $15,000. Any issuing fees, recurring fees, or other administrative costs shall be established at the discretion of the association and set forth in the rules and procedures. All keyholders, whether association members or not, shall agree, as a condition of the key lease agreement, to be bound by the rules and procedures governing the operation of the lock box system. (Amended 11/13)
- Notwithstanding the foregoing, associations and multiple listing services may sell electronic lock box programmers or keypads to MLS participants and others eligible to hold lock box keys pursuant to these requirements provided that such devices may be deactivated, if necessary, within a reasonable period not to exceed thirty (30) days and that the participant has authorized the sale in writing. In the event electronic lock box programmers or keypads are sold or leased, a designated REALTOR® principal or an office’s broker of record may purchase or lease additional programmers or keypads to be issued on a temporary basis to other keyholders in the same office in the event their programmer or keypad becomes non-functional outside normal business hours or under circumstances where a replacement programmer or keypad is not reasonably available from the issuing association or MLS. When a programmer or keypad is issued on a temporary basis, it shall be the responsibility of the REALTOR® principal or the broker of record to advise the association or MLS in writing that the programmer or keypad has been issued, to whom, and the date and time of issuance within forty-eight (48) hours. It shall also be the responsibility of the REALTOR® principal or the broker of record to advise the association or MLS in writing within forty-eight (48) hours after possession of the previously issued programmer or keypad has been reassumed. (Adopted 4/95) M
- MLSs may, as a matter of local option, require placement of an MLS approved lock box on listed properties if any device giving access to real estate professionals and/or service providers is authorized by the seller and occupant and is placed on the property. The purpose of this requirement, if adopted by an MLS, is to ensure cooperating participants and subscribers have timely access to listed properties. Requiring that a lock box or other access device be “MLS-approved” does not limit the devices that satisfy the requirement to lock boxes leased or sold by an association or MLS. The MLS may require that the devices be submitted in advance for approval, and the access device may be any lock box or other access device that provides reasonable, timely access to listed property. The MLS also may revoke the approval and/or subject the participant to discipline if the device is used in a manner that fails to continue to satisfy this requirement. (Adopted 05/12) M